Roots to Revival
There are approximately thirteen million Hungarians in Central Europe—some ten million of them living in Hungary, a thousand-year-old country that is slightly smaller than Indiana. Calling themselves Magyars, these people speak a unique language and maintain highly distinctive traditions in music, dance, costume, crafts, gastronomy, and more.
The Hungarian Heritage: Roots to Revival program at the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival will highlight the vitality of Hungary’s cultural heritage in these areas. It will bring to the National Mall in Washington highly skilled masters and apprentices from rural Central Europe who maintain the traditional knowledge acquired in their native environments. The Festival program will also bring musicians, dancers, and artisans from more urban settings who have revived many of these older traditions to make them part of their daily lives.
For instance, the dance-hall (or táncház) movement, which has emerged since the early 1970s, has helped to reinvent the institution of the village dance-hall in urban areas and to disseminate the practice of authentic folk dancing with live musical accompaniment not only in Hungary and neighboring countries (such as Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia), but also in the United States and Canada where large numbers of Hungarians reside. Similarly, the preservation of traditional handicrafts has helped boost a flourishing crafts movement.
The Hungarian Heritage program will provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience the rich and authentic traditions of Magyars, to better understand the significance of the Hungarian folk revival movement, and to serve as a meeting place for folk aficionados from around the world.
The Hungarian Heritage program is produced by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in partnership with the Balassi Institute, Budapest.
Watch this video about the ornamental painting and embroidery of Kalocsa, which are emblematic symbols of Hungarian folk art. Produced by the European Folklore Institute, Budapest, Hungary, 2004.
Click to enlarge and view captions